cover image Steeple, Vol. 1

Steeple, Vol. 1

John Allison. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-5067-1349-6

In this charmer of a comic-fantasy series opener, trainee priest Bilinda “Billie” Baker arrives literally with a bang (her car explodes) at the rustic seaside town of Tredregyn, North Cornwall, a community rife with superstition and folk legends. There she meets silver-haired part-time bartender Maggie Warren, and the pair take an instant liking to one another. Billie’s curate position puts her together with Reverend Penrose and his housekeeper, Mrs. Clovis, two hardliners for Anglican Christianity. Then, following an evening at Maggie’s pub, Billie encounters a strange creature in a graveyard. Reverend Penrose informs her that for 25 years his church-appointed task was to battle such forces of darkness when they crawl from the sea—and also alerts Billie of Maggie’s affiliation with the town’s Satanic church. But the fact Maggie’s a novice black priestess does not affect the women’s blossoming friendship; and a contingent of witches reveal that Billie and Maggie’s opposing outward beliefs may be masking what’s truly in their hearts. This stylish series launch boasts gentle comedy underscored by charmingly minimalist, animation-influenced art. Who says liturgical head-butting can’t be fun, when there’s monsters involved? This is an unexpectedly hilarious gem. [em](May) [/em]